And the barefoot movement rolls on… in fact the barefoot movement is picking up so much speed that Dr’s. are now starting to conduct in-depth research to better understand the pros and cons of barefoot walking and running. But even though the barefoot movement is picking up steam worldwide, there’s a large segment of this movement that’s interested in barefoot running shoes, or minimalist running shoes – those who want to the full barefoot experience without… well… being 100% barefoot.
But are there really benefits to barefoot running shoes?
For those of you who are just getting started in the barefoot movement, especially barefoot running, then the best advice for you is to take it slow at first. Barefoot, or minimalist running, is something that must be gradually adopted – especially if you are overweight or otherwise not used to exercising. But for those who are out there running, walking, or hiking and are in pretty good shape, then going barefoot (or wearing minimalist running shoes) does in fact have some benefits.
One of the greatest benefits to barefoot running, as proven through clinical research, is that your feet will become stronger as a result of your foot having to adapt to the lack of cushion associated with traditional running shoes. Your feet have a natural cushion effect made up of muscles, but due to the heavy cushioning of a traditional running shoe, these muscles in your foot never fully develop.
Stronger Feet With Barefoot Running Shoes
Dr. Michael Horwitz, a podiatrist at Feet For Life says the age-old thought that shoes need to conform and support your every move is just not true, and that going barefoot or wearing minimalist running shoes is definitely a viable solution to building stronger feet. Regarding the use of minimalist running shoes, Dr. Horwitz says that “these shoes will actually allow your Achilles tendon to passively stretch to its end range of motion… in addition the forefoot muscles in the foot get exercised more.”
CBS Local in St. Louis conducted an interview with Dr. Michael Horwitz to talk about the benefits of barefoot running shoes. Here’s the audio of that interview: